by T. Kingfisher
First sentence: “The trees were full of crows and the woods were full of madmen.”
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Content: There are some intense moments, discussion of domestic violence, and some other violence. It’s in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of the bookstore.
Marra is the third daughter of the king and queen of the Harbor Kingdom, and she never really expected her life to amount to much. She went to serve in the convent of Our Lady of Grackles when she was 15 and has spent half of her life feeding chickens and doing embroidery. But, after her neice dies unexpectedly and she discovers that her sister, married to the king of the Northern Kindom, is being abused, Marra decides to take matters into her own hands. With the help of a dust-wife, a disgraced ex-knight, and a reluctant fairy godmother, she attempts to tackle the impossible: rescuing her sister without disrupting the precarious political balance of the kindgom.
I’ve read several Ursula LeGuin books and loved them, and this is my second by Kingfisher (same person, diffrent nom de plumes) and loved this just as much as I did her other one. She has such a way with telling a story with heart and humor and embracing the tropes (the hero’s journey, in this one) while subverting them. She makes characters that are just wonderful to spend time with, real and complex and funny and grumpy — all of it. I loved every minute of reading this slim book, and I will happily read anything else that Kingfisher has out. I’m definitnely a fan, now.